“A new coronavirus version with features of existing Indian and UK variants was first detected in Vietnam,” Vietnam’s Health Minister Nguyen Thanh Long said at a national news conference on Saturday.
But since late April, Vietnam has reported a sharp increase in Kovid-19 cases. According to Johns Hopkins University data, there were about 6,396 confirmed infections reported last month alone.
It is unclear whether the suspected new type is behind the sudden increase in infection. If so, it may suggest that it is more permeable.
The health minister said, “The fourth wave of Kovid-19 in Vietnam included infections in industrial areas, multiple sources of infection and the presence of various coronavirus variants. It would spread very rapidly and would be very difficult to control.”
The World Health Organization said on Saturday that its Virus Evolution Working Group was working with officials in Vietnam to confirm a possible new coronavirus version as four people were confirmed to be infected with a suspected new strain.
“We have not yet assessed the virus version reported in Vietnam. We expect more variants to be detected as the virus spreads and develops and increases worldwide sequencing capability,” Kovid-19 WHO’s technical lead for Maria said. Van Kerkhov said in a statement.
“From what we understand, the type they have detected is probably the B.1.617.2 version with an additional mutation, although we will provide more information as soon as we get it.”
The B.1.617.2 variant was first discovered in India, where officials have stated this and other variants have driven the country’s spike in Kovid-19 cases.
British health authorities earlier this month upgraded B.1.617.2 to a type of concern due to its rapid spread in the UK.
New restrictions on increasing cases
New measures for two weeks from Monday include the closure of non-essential services, such as shops and restaurants, and postpone religious activities.
According to Reuters, public ceremonies of more than 10 people have also been banned, and the city is considering halving that number.
The outbreak has spread to more than 30 of Vietnam’s 63 cities and provinces, including the capital Hanoi, which has closed restaurants and banned public ceremonies.
According to JHU data, in a country of more than 96 million people, fewer than 30,000 – 0.03% – have been vaccinated.
Vietnam has received 2.9 million doses so far and aims to secure 150 million this year, Reuters reported.